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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Northeast > Superior Grown Food Summit by Locally Adapted Food System Collaborative

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Superior Grown Food Summit by Locally Adapted Food System Collaborative

Purpose

  1. Build a Common Framework for understanding food as a public good that includes yet transcends the market.
  2. Gather Public Input on food needs and concerns over food availability, affordability, quality and security.
  3. Draft Attainable Goals for greater local, regional and state food production.
  4. Prioritize Pathways for success in localizing food.

Partners

University of Minnesota partners in the Summit
Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

List community partners

Activities

The Superior Grown Food Summit was staged on November 13, 2009, at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. An estimated 225 people from across the western Lake Superior bioregion took part in this event, which was publicized through newsletter articles and conversations with individuals within a variety of networks in the region. Articles publicizing the Summit appeared in the Whole Foods Coop newsletter, the Duluth Community Garden newsletter, the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association newsletter, the Duluth Hillsider, and the Duluth News Tribune. We held targeted conversations regarding the Summit with people in the Duluth Public School system, the Duluth city government, the Wisconsin Counties Association, etc. We sent letters of invitation to all churches, environmental organizations, and most community level elected officials (mayors and city council members) in the SuperiorGrown.org region. We set up interviews on radio programs and submitted notices of the event on several key websites. These activities were designed to build awareness and ownership of the Summit by a wide array of people within our targeted networks.

Outcomes

We believe that the multi-step action plan we devised to gather, harness and channel public input and desire for expanding local and regional food production was largely successful based on the numbers of direct participants at the event as well as the feedback we received afterwards. In addition to the people who attended the Summit itself, the proceedings were videotaped and shown on Duluth Public Access Community Television in three segments on several occasions. We also received favorable television coverage of the event, projecting the importance of community food system planning and development. We are seeking to use this event to further build the appropriate research, public awareness, and policy formation for expanded local and regional food production (see section below on 'University Involvement' for details). The networking within the principals and community stakeholders in advance of the Summit, the convening of the Summit itself, and the creation of a public document based on the Summit's outcomes all lend themselves to building momentum toward this goal.
Principals in the Summit organizing met after the event and discussed the possibilities of staging a second Summit in 2010 given the public interest in doing so. However, we ultimately decided that holding one in 2010 was premature, but we will likely stage a follow up Summit in November, 2011, building on the initial Summit and showcasing developments that have taken place in the fast changing world of regional food systems in the interim. As part of the invitations and notices for this follow up Summit, we will be sending the public document from Summit 2009 to everyone who had attended that event.
One special outcome of the event was that a landowner with 20 acres on the urban edge of Duluth contacted Randel Hanson after reading a newspaper article in the Duluth News Tribune outlining the Summit: the landowner inquired about whether a community process to utilize that property could be created to maintain that land in agricultural use in perpetuity. After nearly a year's long series of trust building and information exchange, we have initiated that community process to create the 'Duluth Community Farm', a non profit farmer/agriculture enterprise incubator which will host initial farming in the Spring, 2011. Key members of the Superior Grown Food Summit are helping to create this non profit which, if it demonstrates soundness over the course of several years, will have the land title transferred. We are also in discussions with the City of Duluth to include an additional acreage on adjacent lands now associated with the City of Duluth's Tree Farm. We are excited about this development, which promises to be a powerful community addition to the process of rebuilding local and regional food systems.

Funding

$7,500

Leveraged resources

$16,400

Last updated 12-15-2010
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